One thing that kept popping up when I first did an internet search on AGA cooking was toast. (Pun unintended, but I like it.)
We own a two-slice electric toaster, which lays claim to a coveted spot on our countertop. I do not love it. It is thoroughly unreliable: one cycle and the toast is barely warm, run a second cycle and it inevitably burns.
I like toast, especially crisp Italian sourdough toast coated in salted British butter. Or wheaty wholegrain toast, buttered and covered in homemade rhubarb and ginger jam. But really… I kept hearing about ‘Iconic Aga Toast’ like it was an amazing thing. It’s toast! I may have rolled my eyes.
Sarcasm aside, after a couple of weeks with our inherited AGA, I was intrigued enough to splash out on an AGA Toaster. It’s a wire contraption designed to secure your bread and suspend it just above the surface of the ever-hot Boiling Plate (BP).
Lest you think this is frivolous – as a blog post and as a method of cooking – please note that the aim is a fully-rounded working knowledge of how to work with an AGA.
For today’s purposes, one slice of store-bought bread goes between the hinged grids. The whole lot is placed directly on the surface of the BP.
A couple of notes: I find that putting the cover down over the toaster presses the toast too close to the surface and burns average breads very quickly. Also, don’t step away from the toast because the line between perfectly golden and incinerated could be a stroll to the sink and back. (Mind you, this is also true of other methods.)
I’ve not timed the process, which will vary with type of bread. Just tip the grid and check your toast – when it has achieved the colour you’re looking for, flip the entire lot over to do the other side.
The handle of the toaster can get quite hot, depending on where you put it. For me, the coolest position is to have it over the left front corner of the range, the handle pointing to an analogue clock’s seven.
When the second side matches the perfection of the first, you’ve finished toasting. Set it aside on your toast rack for attention in good time, or butter and consume immediately.
(Placing a toast rack on the back of the AGA keeps toast perfectly warm.)
There it is: Iconic AGA Toast, complete with tidy pattern of toasty squares.
Cons? Well, you have to have an AGA or similar range, and the wire contraption may or may not have further uses. You cannot use this method if you’re already cooking something else on the BP.
Pros? Very evenly toasted, every time. Every single time.
Am I glad that I bought the toaster, even though we own a separate electric toaster? Yes, actually, I am. Do I use it regularly? Yes, I do.
The AGA toaster will toast two large slices or four smaller slices of toast, simultaneously. It does a spectacular job toasting bagels on one side, and ditto for getting crumpets perfectly done.
Can you tell I’ve enjoyed testing it?
Lots of things to do with toast, eh?